Nov 9, 2022 - Technology

Facebook parent Meta laying off 13% of staff

Illustration of a frowning face made from the Meta logo

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday said his company will cut 13% of its staff — or more than 11,000 people — in an effort to withstand any further downturn in the economy.

Why it matters: It's Meta's biggest round of layoffs in its history, and it underscores the financial pressure the tech giant is under now that it's trying to pivot its business.

Details: In an announcement Wednesday, Zuckerberg said he wanted to take accountability for how the company got to this point.

  • Zuckerberg said he assumed COVID-driven trends, like the acceleration of e-commerce, would live on past the pandemic, but conceded that he was wrong about that. He also pointed to a slower ad market as a contributor to the company's financial woes.
  • "In this new environment, we need to become more capital efficient," he wrote. "We've shifted more of our resources onto a smaller number of high priority growth areas — like our AI discovery engine, our ads and business platforms, and our long-term vision for the metaverse."
  • The cuts will occur "in every organization across both Family of Apps and Reality Labs," he said. And "some teams will be affected more than others."
  • The layoffs, he noted, are in addition to other steps Meta is taking, like cutting discretionary spending, cutting back on real estate, restructuring teams and extending its hiring freeze through Q1.
  • Zuckerberg said the company will remove access to most Meta systems for people leaving today “given the amount of access to sensitive information,” but will keep email addresses active throughout the day “so everyone can say farewell.”

Be smart: A slower advertising market combined with skepticism about Meta's expenses around building virtual reality products that don't have much consumer application today has caused investors to lose confidence in Meta.

  • After more than a decade of explosive growth, Meta's momentum is beginning to slow down.
  • The company reported its second consecutive quarter of year-over-year revenue declines last month.
  • Growing expenses combined with its steep headcount (over 87,000) had begun to bloat the company ahead of a possible recession.
  • Meta has lost more than 70% of its value this year.

What to watch: Meta is one of many tech companies that have announced steep layoffs recently to withstand the economic pullback. Snap, Salesforce and Twitter have also recently shed large numbers of staff.

Editor's note: This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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